Romano gave up three hits and one run in the Reds win. The Enquirer/John Fay
Adam Duvall is hopeful that his first-inning home run against the Miami Marlins on Friday night was a sign of progress.
Maybe a chance to turn the page on an abysmal start to the season at the plate. He was hitless in his previous nine at-bats. After hitting 30-plus home runs in the past two seasons, he’s up to five in 31 games.
“It felt good to just barrel up a ball,” said Duvall, who entered Saturday night with a .167 batting average and .380 slugging percentage.
Duvall extended his arms on a 90 mph fastball from Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen, lifting the ball over the wall in right-field for an opposite-field home run. He hit five homers to right field last year.
“I haven’t been able to really drive the ball the other way,” Duvall said. “Being able to do that is a good sign.”
Reds manager Jim Riggleman believes one of the main differences from last season is that pitchers have adjusted to Duvall. It happens with all young hitters. Pitchers saw how he took advantage of bad breaking balls with two strikes and changed their approach.
Now it’s up to Duvall to adjust to the way he’s being pitched.
“A lot of times pitchers would be working him and then I think they would feel like, ‘Here is a big guy, we’re going to try to trick him with a breaking ball,’ and they made a lot of mistakes on him,” Riggleman said. “He hit a lot of two-strike breaking balls out of the park last year. You get the league’s attention when you do that.”
Duvall isn’t striking out more than he did last season. But the balls he’s put into play aren’t falling for hits like they did in the past.
How does he avoid trying to do too much?
“I don’t know that I have the answer for that,” he said with a grin.
Duvall said that he doesn’t try to listen to many outside voices when going through a slump. But when the team is struggling, it’s difficult to avoid putting more pressure on himself at the plate.
“I mean, you can’t get two hits in one at-bat,” he said. “You just have to trust that you put the work in and that it’s going to come around.”
DeSclafani, Lorenzen progressing from injuries: Anthony DeSclafani, sidelined with a left oblique strain, threw two innings in an extended spring training game Friday in Goodyear, Ariz. He faced 11 batters and tossed 29 pitches.
The Reds expect DeSclafani to throw a side session Sunday.
Relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen, out with a right shoulder strain, had a 40-pitch bullpen session Friday. He is scheduled to throw live batting practice Monday.
“They are both doing very well,” Riggleman said. “They are on their schedule to join us whenever that is. There hasn’t been any setbacks.”
DeSclafani made 20 starts in 2016, recording 105 strikeouts and a 3.28 ERA in 123 1/3 innings. On the 60-day disabled list, he isn’t eligible to join the team until May 28.
Interest in Matt Harvey?: The New York Mets designated right-hander Matt Harvey for assignment on Friday. Harvey refused to go into the minor leagues, so the Mets have seven days to trade or release him.
The National League’s starting pitcher in the 2013 All-Star game, the 29-year-old Harvey was placed in the bullpen after losing speed on his fastball in mid-April. He allowed 21 runs in 27 innings this season.
Would the Reds be interested in adding him?
“We haven’t had any discussions about it,” Riggleman said. “I’m sure Nick Krall, Dick Williams and his staff, Walt (Jocketty), and all of them are probably aware of it and considering whether it’s something that we would engage in but I don’t know.”